clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

LeBron James says this year’s Kevin Durant Game 3 dagger was even tougher than last year’s

James said Durant’s 2018 game-deciding three was even tougher than the one he made in 2017.

NBA: Finals-Golden State Warriors at Cleveland Cavaliers Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

In 2017, Kevin Durant shattered the Cavaliers’ NBA championship hopes with a dagger three-pointer to cap off a Warriors’ comeback in a heated Game 3 in Cleveland. In 2018 he, well, shattered the Cavaliers’ NBA championship hopes with a dagger three-pointer to cap off a Warriors comeback in a heated Game 3 in Cleveland — but this time, LeBron James says the degree of difficulty was even higher.

Durant’s 33-foot three-pointer pushed Golden State’s lead out to 106-100 with 49.6 seconds to play, effectively crushing the Cavs’ hopes of escaping Game 3 with a win. It seemed all too familiar, but James pointed out a key difference in this year’s dagger.

“That wasn’t the same shot,” James told reporters after the game. “The one he made tonight was about four or five feet behind the one he made last year. Last year, we were up two, and he pulled up pretty much right at the three-point line and I got a great contest, but he made it.

”Tonight, they’re up three. They come off a pick-and-roll and he just stopped behind and pulled four or five feet behind the three-point line. So, same wing, different location ... You definitely tip your hat. I mean, that’s what he does. He’s a scorer. You know, he’s an assassin and that was one of those assassin plays right there.”

Here’s the shot he drained in 2017 to throat punch the Cavaliers at home:

And here’s the 2018 version:

Durant didn’t see too many similarities either — at least while he was on the court. When pressed on whether he was aware he was making nearly the same shot he had a year ago, he brushed off the idea.

“Nah. Not at all. I just took the shot.”

James is right; Durant’s shot Wednesday night was different. It was equal parts more difficult and less important. In 2017, his dagger three erased the Cavaliers’ lead but only gave the Warriors a one-point advantage, leaving the final 45 seconds anyone’s game. In 2018, his long-range bomb made it a six-point lead for Golden State, effectively sucking the drama out of Quicken Loans Arena.

Even so, it made for a second-straight season where the Warriors took a 3-0 lead over the Cavaliers thanks to a clutch Durant three. That’s some awful deja vu for fans in Cleveland.